Intel CEO Otellini Gives Optimistic Outlook

Intel CEO Paul Otellini tells investors and analysts that Intel's business in the second quarter has been better than expected, even before the important month of June. Otellini also says he has a more optimistic view than IDC on the PC business for the rest of 2009, and that there is pent-up worldwide desire to refresh PCs. During his talk, Otellini did not touch on the expected fine from the European Union for anti-competitive behavior against rival AMD.

It was an optimistic Paul Otellini who took the stage in front of investors and analysts May 12 to talk about Intel's business.

A month after declaring during Intel's quarterly earnings announcement that the PC industry had bottomed out, Intel's president and CEO said business has been exceeding expectations in the first few months of 2009.

"We are halfway through Q2. In terms of our order pattern and our billing pattern, it's a little better than expected," Otellini said early in his 45-minute talk.

While June is the key month for the second quarter, he described business as "so far, so good."

Otellini's comments came despite the rumors that have circulated over the past few days that the European Union is ready to slam Intel with a hefty fine-possibly in the billions of dollars-for antitrust behaviors as a result of complaints from rival Advanced Micro Devices. That fine could come down as early as May 13.

Throughout the talk, Otellini painted a favorable picture of the state of Intel and the industry, despite the global recession that has hammered most industries.

In the PC business, Otellini said while IDC has predicted that shipment volumes will be down by 9 to 10 percent in 2009, he doesn't think it will be that bad.

"I'm getting increasingly comfortable that the dip here is not as aggressive as they are showing," Otellini said.

And while 2009 will the most difficult year in a long time for the PC market, he said he expects that business will return to a normal pace over the next three years, swelling the volume of PCs globally to 400 million units over the next few years.

IDC is also seeing a slowdown in the contraction in the market. In a report issued May 12 before the Intel meeting, the research company said while microprocessor shipments declined in the first quarter at a higher rate than normal, the decline may be slowing.

"The PC processor market continued to reflect significant decline in end demand for most of 1Q09," IDC analyst Shane Rau said in a statement. "However, some inventory replenishment by OEMs at the end of the quarter helped to slow the decline and bring the quarter in at a level only slightly worse than typical seasonal decline."